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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Q: Who Blows A 27-Point Lead (In 1 Quarter) Then Loses in Double Overtime? A: The Celtics

Thank God the NHL has returned and the Bruins are really good because we need something to shield us from the flaming wreckage that is the 2012-13 Celtics. Boston's (20-23, 7-14 away) 123-111 double overtime loss tonight at Atlanta's (25-18, 15-7 home) Philips Arena was borderline impossible to execute. It is their sixth straight defeat, the longest losing streak in the Kevin Garnett (24 points, 10 rebounds) in Green era.

The Celts got up 48-21 in the second quarter but apparently that wasn't enough as the Hawks tied it at 59 midway through the third quarter. If that didn't make you want to jump off the Tobin Bridge, how about watching Kyle Korver (27 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks) drain eight 3-pointers in the second half alone? Pass that bottle of bleach please.

Rajon Rondo (16 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) had his second triple-double in as many nights and third straight against Atlanta so he's probably content. Avery Bradley had 14 points while Paul Pierce struggled to get 12 points and six rebounds in 40 minutes. For once, Boston's bench wasn't the issue as they outscored Atlanta's 45-21. Jeff Green (17 points, 6 rebounds), Courtney Lee (16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) and even Jason Terry (12 points) were all excellent.

Al Horford put up 24 points, 13 rebounds and two steals, Jeff Teague had 23 points, seven assists and three steals, Josh Smith notched 17 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks and Ivan Johnson added 11 points (which has to be a career-high, only a slight exaggeration). Devin Harris (remember him?) had 14 points off the bench.

A soul crushing loss like this will overshadow something great that the Celtics actually did: they went 20-for-20 from the free throw line. Smith missed a layup at the end of regulation that would have won it but he made up for it by stuffing Pierce's predictable move and shot at the end of the first overtime. After that, Boston completely ran out of gas in the second overtime.

I suppose there is only one way for the Celtics to go from here: up. They can't possibly suffer two more brutal losses in the regular season on back-to-back nights. The Heat (28-12, 1st in Southeast Division) make their first trip to Boston on Sunday (1 p.m., ABC) which means that Ray Allen will be back. Luckily, since the C's are so bad at the moment, we won't have to be bombarded with that storyline non-stop.

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